Pembroke Welsh Corgis: A Puppy Buying Guide
Corgi puppies! They’re all the rage these days. It seems like every other person I see on social media wants to or just got a new Corgi puppy. And it’s understandable. These guys are kee-yooot. Their little round bums bring light to our dreary social media feeds and life seems like it would just be better with a Corgi.
I’m writing this post today because we get asked pretty often where and which breeder we got Chibi from. (That’s right, pretty much no one is asking me where I got my American Eskimo ?). I see people ask other Corgi accounts all the time, “Which breeder is he from?” “Where can I find a Corgi puppy in California?”
Watch our YouTube video on this topic!
Before we get into everything, this is a post about Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are a completely different breed, and although they have similar physical features to Pembrokes, they have different temperaments. Any breeder who is selling a Pembroke x Cardigan mix is not selling a purebred dog. And there’s nothing wrong with mixed breed dogs! Just don’t be duped by those who are selling them as purebred dogs. If you’re interested in a Cardigan, check out their parent club, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy at all to find a well-bred, healthy Corgi puppy. To do so, you should give yourself at least a year of research and preparation before expecting to take a puppy home. Maybe even two years depending on which reputable breeders are having litters that year.
The majority of Corgi breeders out there seem to be backyard breeders or puppy mills, cashing in on the recent popularity of the breed. Take it from someone who got a puppy from poor bloodlines — you do not want to buy a puppy from a backyard breeder. Chibi is one of those backyard breeder puppies, so I hope what I share today will help future Corgi owners be more prepared when looking for the dog of their dreams. It’s not to say those puppies don’t deserve homes or that I regret getting Cheebs, and this is not a post about adoption vs. purchasing. This is a post for those who are interested in bringing a new puppy into their home and are wondering what’s the best way to find one from a breeder.
Why is it especially important to get a healthy Corgi?
Poorly bred Corgis tend to come with a slew of issues, if not during puppyhood definitely during adolescence and adulthood. Because of their stature, they are very prone to orthopedic issues – way more so than regularly proportioned dogs. We’ve shared our experiences with Chibi being diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia at just 1 year old, a condition that results from poor genetics and conformation. The long term downside of having an unhealthy dog means you’re paying ten times or even more what you did for the puppy. We’ve spent money on three surgeries, approximately $1000/month on rehab, and countless vet visits and health exams. We’ve also heard of backyard breeder puppies coming home infested with fleas and with congenital defects or infections.
The worst part is seeing your dog unhealthy or in pain. It makes me so sad that Chibi cannot come on hikes with us or romp at the beach at a doggy playdate. It’s just not the life a dog deserves to live.
Pembroke Welsh Corgis: the breed standard
Because there are so many backyard breeder Corgis out there these days, it’s hard for people to even recognize what a Corgi is supposed to look like! I was guilty of this when looking for my puppy — I couldn’t tell the difference between most dogs and ended up inadvertently supporting a breeder who was not dedicated at all to the breed or her dogs.
For example, the two dogs on below barely look like they’re the same breed. Yet they’re both from “purebred Corgi breeders.”
Our friend Geordi @lacorgi is from a reputable breeder, and take a look at his features. Rounded ears, straight and stumpy legs, and a straight top-line, meaning the back is not roached or curved.
Chibi has pointier ears and her front legs sometimes turn outwards (as a result of her poor conformation and need to compensate for her weak legs). Her back legs also rotate inwards rather than being straight. Thankfully Chibi has a nice straight top-line, because she’s already a handful of problems as it is!
Some of you might be thinking, “Sure, well I don’t want a show-quality Corgi. I’m not going to be participating in conformation.” That’s totally fine! But there are ways to get non-show Corgis that are healthy too. Issues resulting from poor conformation can lead to health problems that are preventable if you get a well-bred dog.
Those front legs that turn outwards? It’ll most likely result in arthritis and inflammation as the dog gets older. The roached back means you’ll probably have a dog with spinal issues starting from a young age. Sticking their back legs out or doing the “mermaid pose” when they sit is not normal, either and could mean hip issues.
Are you sure you want a Corgi?
Please do sufficient research in understanding breed temperaments and personalities before deciding on the breed you want. So many people buy Corgi puppies and end up giving them away or turning them to shelters after a few months because the dogs are more than they can handle.
Corgis are not super easy dogs to own, especially for first-time dog owners. They shed a TON (seriously, I think Chibi sheds more than Kokoro) and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. They bark and are very vocal, so if you want a quiet dog, a Corgi might not be for you. They can be high drive due to the herding instincts and need a ton of mental stimulation to stay happy. This means you could considering doing dog sports like obedience, rally, nosework, or agility with your dog, which is usually at least a weekly commitment to classes. The great thing about them is that they’re super smart and easy to train, so long as you have the proper understanding of how to devote your care and time to the dog!
What kind of Corgi do you want?
Pembroke Welsh Corgis come in the below colors.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis can have blue eyes and merle patterning. Pembrokes are not supposed to have blue eyes, and most often breeders who claim to breed “bluie” Pembrokes end up with dogs that have some sort of Cardigan Welsh Corgi in their bloodline.
Believe it or not, Cardigans are more closely related to basset hounds than they are to the Pembrokes!
The best way to find a healthy Corgi puppy
- Start at the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America (PWCCA). They have a public directory of reputable breeders all across the country with contact information, too! Interested in adopting? They also have a resource for rescue Corgis.
- Attend a PWCCA event. They host plenty of dog shows, matches, and more where you have the opportunity to meet reputable breeders and Corgi enthusiasts in person.
- Contact your local breed club (such as GGPWCF, PWCCSC), Cascade, Mayflower) and go to their specialties.
- Once you’ve found a breeder, you have to pretty much court them! Talk to them, get to know them and let them know you’ve done all the proper research and are prepared to own a Corgi. You want to become their best friend and give them the comfort of knowing their puppy will have only the best home with you.
- See if the breeder will allow you a chance to meet at least one of the parents. Check out their conformation and temperaments because it’ll be a strong indicator of what their puppies will be like. Often times, breeders don’t own both the mom and dad but reputable breeders will be more than happy to tell you everything about the parents, from their temperaments and quirks to the history of their pedigree.
- Ensure your breeder conducts the proper health tests on the parents, specifically for the eyes and hips. Degenerative Myelopathy is a chronic disease that is also common in Corgis, rendering them unable to use their back legs. These health tests are expensive, so most backyard breeders in it for the cash won’t want to conduct them. Our breeder’s excuse was that Chibi’s parent’s parents were tested, so she didn’t feel the need to test her dogs.
Not such great ways to find Corgi breeders
- Googling “corgi breeder in [location]” or “corgi puppies for sale”
- Facebook Pages
- AKC Marketplace
Funnily enough, the most reputable breeders are usually less tech-savvy and have horrible websites that look like they’re from 2001, if they even have one at all. The best way to get in contact with a breeder is to meet them in person.
How to tell if a breeder is NOT a reputable breeder
Below are some things we’ve picked up over the last few years dealing with our breeder and learning more about the many Corgi breeders in southern California. They are good things to keep in the back of your mind when searching for the most appropriate breeder for your puppy.
1. They sell puppies to anyone who gives them a deposit, even before the puppy is born
Reputable breeders will interview you, ask you in detail about your lifestyle and knowledge of the breed, pairing you with a puppy based on its personality being a fit for your life. Breeders who require deposits on unborn litters and sell puppies on a first come first serve basis typically aren’t looking out for the best interest of their dogs.
They might also allow you to pick the puppy. We were first in line to put a deposit on Chibi’s litter, so we got first pick. Meaning we got to see a photo of Chibi at 1 day old, not knowing her personality or anything, and had to make a decision on which puppy we wanted. Reputable breeders will likely pick a puppy for you around 9-12 weeks of age depending on your lifestyle, needs, the puppy’s temperaments, and more.
2. They will ship you your puppy via plane
If your breeder is out of state, it’s a better idea to fly there and pick up the puppy yourself. Reputable breeders usually expect you to come in person for an interview and then to pick up the puppy yourself, no matter how far you are.
3. They don’t conduct health tests on the parents
Conducting health tests are expensive, so most backyard breeders in it for the cash won’t want to conduct them. Our breeder’s excuse was that Chibi’s parent’s parents were tested, so she didn’t feel the need to test her dogs. It turns out we could’ve greatly benefited from the OFA hip test, because she came with hip joints that were only 10% inside the socket!
Dogs cannot be OFA tested until they are 2 years old. BOTH parents should have the following tests: vWD, DM, OFA, CERF. A reputable breeder will be more than happy to provide you complete records and results from these tests.
If a breeder is offering a 1-2 year “health guarantee,” this usually doesn’t mean anything. Many genetic issues do not manifest until many years later, such as DM. Our breeder gave us a “1 year” health guarantee, but when I contacted her when Chibi was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 1.5 years, she claimed none of her dogs have ever had the issue and asked if it was because I let her jump off too much furniture.
4. They charge exorbitant amounts for a puppy
We have friends who paid around $300 for their Corgi puppies almost a decade ago. Chibi was just over double that. Nowadays breeders are charging even $4000 for their puppies without offering any insight into whether they’re conducting genetic testing. A puppy from a reputable breeder will be pricey due to the cost of conducting those tests, but just know that just because a breeder is charging a lot for a puppy, it does not mean it’s a guarantee of quality or health.
5. They have litters simultaneously
Caring for a bunch of Corgis is no easy task, let alone brand new litters of puppies. If a breeder is having too many litters at the same time, it might be an indication they are in it for the cash.
6. They start breeding their dogs very young
Chibi’s mom was 4 years old when she had our litter. This was already her fourth litter. This means our breeder either bred her mom when she became 1 year old or she bred her multiple times a year, which is a huge no-no at such a young age.
After Chibi’s litter, our breeder retired her mom and gave her away. Simultaneously, she acquired two female puppies. As soon as those puppies hit just over 1 year old, they had their first litters too. Reputable breeders will wait until female dogs are at least 2-3 years old to have their first litter.
7. They advertise their dogs are AKC registered
Anyone can register a dog with the AKC. The organization doesn’t actually check which dog was bred to which as long as the breeder pays. Even a dog registered as purebred may not be actually purebred.
8. They advertise Champion bloodlines
Some backyard breeders will take photos of their dogs next to signs that mean pretty much nothing to dupe people into thinking their dogs have won dog shows, mine included. Ask for a copy of your dog’s pedigree. Just because there was one title 5 generations ago, it doesn’t mean your puppy has champion bloodlines.
You should see CH/GCH titles when looking at a pedigree with actual champion bloodlines. At least one parents should have that if from a reputable breeder. Pedigrees should go back at least 4-5 generations with verifiable AKC numbers and health testing results.
9. They send puppies to new homes before 10 weeks of age
Per PWCCA’s Code of Ethics, breeders should not be selling puppies that are younger than 10 weeks of age. Puppies need those extra couple of weeks with their moms and littermates for health and temperament reasons.
Unfortunately it’s not a one-click thing to order the puppy of your dreams to your doorstep. We have learned a ton from our experiences with Chibi, and she was definitely more of a handful than we expected when we put our deposit down on her. Don’t get me wrong, I love and adore Chibi and think she’s the most perfect Corgi for me!
But, I do hope that sharing our experiences can help future Corgi owners be more prepared when entering into the stumpy-legged chapters of their lives. Maybe if less people want to buy from a backyard breeder, there will be less poorly-bred dogs riddled with diseases and orthopedic injuries out there who deserve much better lives than that!